Vols roll in 2nd half to beat Tennessee Tech 84-63
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
After trailing 42-41 early in the second half, Tennessee (6-2) went on a 22-1 run to seize control of the game.
Jordan McRae scored 16 points and Josh Richardson and Jeronne Maymon each added 13 for Tennessee. Jordan Johnson scored 15 points, Ty Allen had 14 and Jeremiah Samarrippas added 10 for Tennessee Tech (5-6).
Tennessee Tech shot 10 of 20 from 3-point range but was only 3 of 12 on free throws.
Tennessee has won 21 of its 22 meetings with Tennessee Tech, which got its only victory over the Volunteers on Dec. 4, 1996. The two schools, located about 100 miles apart, were meeting for the first time since Dec. 28, 2006.
Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin had spent the week emphasizing the importance of working the ball to Stokes and Maymon. Stokes, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound junior, has averaged 8.5 points in Tennessee's two losses and 17 points per game in the Vols' six wins.
During this current stretch of four straight double doubles, Stokes has averaged 18.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
This was Tennessee's first game since a Thanksgiving week trip to the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, and the Vols' defense showed plenty of rust in the early going.
Tennessee Tech led by as many as seven points in the first half as it capitalized on sizzling outside shooting. The Golden Eagles made seven of their first eight 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Golden Eagles had entered the day shooting just 30.3 percent from 3-point range this season. Johnson, who was averaging just 3.8 points per game, had a career-high 15 points by halftime after shooting 4 of 4 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes. Samarrippas was 2 of 3 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Samarrippas' driving basket with 5:25 left in the first half gave Tennessee Tech a 34-27 advantage. Tennessee responded with a 10-0 run, but the Golden Eagles fought back and regained the lead on Johnson's three-point play with 1:19 left. McRae's jumper with 1:04 remaining gave Tennessee a 41-40 halftime lead.
Tennessee Tech pulled back ahead 42-41 on Dwan Campbell's basket with 18:57 left in the game, but Tennessee responded with its 22-1 run.
McRae tied the game 42-42 by making the first of two free throws with 18:01 remaining. McRae missed his second free throw, but Stokes pulled down the rebound and got a putback later in that possession to put Tennessee ahead for good with 17:54 left.
Tennessee was never threatened again. McRae and Richardson each scored five points during the 22-1 run that put the game away, while Tennessee Tech went without a basket for over 7 1/2 minutes. After combining for 25 points in the first half, Johnson and Samarrippas failed to score in the second half.
Tennessee Tech hurt itself with its inability to knock down free throws. The team that couldn't miss from 3-point range for most of the first half also couldn't make anything from the foul line all day. The Golden Eagles were 1 of 7 on free throws in the second half as the game slipped away from them.